It was supposed to be a year of triumph for AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson’s growth through diversification strategy, but the Trump administration had other ideas. Even though subscribership had slipped at DirecTV, Stephenson’s earlier diversification play, antitrust regulators sued AT&T to block its acquisition of entertainment power Time Warner. A federal judge ruled in June that the merger could go forward, but the Justice Department has filed to appeal the decision. Overall, revenue declined 2% as unlimited wireless data plans and a shrinking pay TV audience cut into sales growth, despite gains from AT&T’s new Internet TV service and strong Latin American expansion.
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The new chairman comes from a much smaller player.